Judge allows troopers’ lawsuit against 2011 RI pension overhaul to continue

Politics

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The last group of holdouts fighting Rhode Island’s decade-old pension overhaul won a court victory on Monday, with a judge giving the green light for their lawsuit to move forward.

In a 25-page ruling, R.I. Superior Court Associate Justice Luis Matos denied the state’s request to toss a suit brought in 2014 by the Rhode Island Troopers Association that sought to exempt state police retirees from the changes to retirement benefits.

The suit argues that the specific trust fund for troopers was well-funded at the time of the overhaul, unlike those for other groups such as teachers or state employees.

While the judge agreed to dismiss a number of individual counts in the Troopers Association’s original suit, he let six others stand and proceed through the litigation process.

“The Rhode Island Troopers Association is encouraged by the Superior Court’s ruling, which will allow it to continue to make its case that the cuts to its members’ proposed pensions were improper, unconstitutional and should be reversed,” the association said in a statement.

Neither the attorney general’s office, which is defending the state, nor the Department of Administration immediately responded to a request for comment about the litigation.

Lawmakers approved the pension overhaul in 2011 at the urging of then-Treasurer Gina Raimondo, who shot to national prominence for her role in its passage. A union lawsuit seeking to throw out the law was settled in 2015, keeping a revised version of the measure in place.

Ted Nesi (tnesi@wpri.com) is a Target 12 investigative reporter and 12 News politics/business editor. He co-hosts Newsmakers and writes Nesi’s Notes on Saturdays. Connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram

Tim White (twhite@wpri.com) is the Target 12 managing editor and chief investigative reporter at 12 News, and the host of Newsmakers. Connect with him on Twitter and Facebook.

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